Douglas A/B-26 Invader

Development - Grand Central Aircraft Company

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Grand Central Air Services

The early days of air travel in Los Angeles have essentially nothing to do with those often dreaded letters L-A-X. In fact, the origins of commercial air travel in America began in Glendale in the early portion of the 20th century in what eventually became Grand Central Air Terminal (GCAT).

In the early 1950s, Grand Central Air Terminal, Glendale, California, was a hot-bed of ex-military aircraft conversion and modification.

This historic airport (which exists almost completely intact but is in threat of demolition by the Disney Corporation which now owns the property) was America's first west coast transcontinental terminal and over the years (it closed in 1959) had seen numerous historic aviation firsts.

Grand Central Aircraft Company executives came up with the idea to modify for executive use, the first batch of Ex Military A-26 Invaders to enter the civilian registry, and thus start the ball rolling on what was to be the birth of the VIP transport Invader, in all its many guises.

The interiors of A-26 Invaders refurbished at Grand Central consisted of black leather and vinyl side walls with black carpet and with a galley, potty and interphone sytem.

Typically they had fibreglass or plastic window surrounds and lighting around the waist line or shin line and eyeball vents and reading lights for each seat or bench sofa. The headliners were vinyl or something natural like mohair, with no metal seen for the most part.

Several Invaders were completed when the employees split off and established On Mark Engineering at nearby Van Nuys Airport, using plans, schematics and drawings taken from Grand central.